Never have we known of a $99 Android smartphone that is comparable to the best of other Android smartphones, but with a design that bleeds of premium quality. That’s the DROID RAZR M from Motorola: built from aircraft-grade aluminum frame, a hard plastic body, Kevlar, and water-repellent nanocoating to protect against water or something like a splash of coffee. And because of the build materials, the DROID RAZR M is astoundingly original and beautiful.
A qHD 960 x 640 near-edge-to-edge 4.3-inch display which adorns the front is crisp, clear, and at first glance is in fact the only thing unbecoming of the RAZR M, simply because it’s no a full HD display; colors, saturation, and contrast are all top-notch.
Google was happy to hand each member of the press a RAZR M at the recent Motorola event in New York City. Check out the LaptopMemo review of a pre-release version of the DROID RAZR M.
Price as Reviewed: $99 at Verizon Wireless.
Things We Love About The RAZR M
Below are some of our test notes on the Motorola and Google’s latest mid-range smartphone:
As part of Google’s acquisition of Motorola, one of the many changes that are in the making includes making Chrome being the default browser on all their new smartphones. Great idea.
Motorola dunked an awesome 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor in the RAZR M. That means it’s really fast. Pretty much, that’s it. Lag or stuttering was not even worry: do this, do that, and the RAZR M kept up.
There is also an included 8 megapixel camera on the back of the RAZR M. It shoots very decent photographs and also has the option of taking photos and 1080p HD video, simultaneously with just a tap at the screen. We’d say that taking both photos and videos are a really rewarding experience, because you can always come out with a couple great photos and videos that can be shared via the Verizon 4G LTE data connection.
Motorola DROID RAZR M Gallery
The design. Again, the mix of aluminum, plastic, Kevlar, and water-resistant Corning Gorilla glass is fantastic. And plus, it feels like Motorola didn’t “borrow” any inspiration from competing smartphones. They started fresh and made something meaningful, at least when you look at it through the lens of just originality.
Verizon’s 4G LTE data speeds are always something to boast about. It’s always fast, ranging anywhere between 10MBps for downloads and up to 20MBps and beyond. Phone calls, reception, and internet are very consistent in the New York City area, in all of our tests, including in the Union Square underground railway system.
Software-wise, Motorola has made a major improvement over the years. Now there’s a very well-placed quick settings panel that can be accessed by just swiping to the left and getting a list of important settings you can change, like Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth. The circle widgets also display key info, like the time, weather, and battery life percentage. Most of Google’s original Android 4.0 designs remain in some form, and that also is pretty cool. Motorola promises to release an Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update “at the end of the year”.
Lastly, the battery life is actually somewhat conservative for a dual-core, 4G LTE smartphone. I got through an solid day of usage, starting at lunchtime and ending at 11 o’clock in the night, with at least 8% of juice to spare.
Things We Don’t Like About The RAZR M
Never was a fan of plastic flaps on smartphones. Absolutely not. Motorola made their moderately useful by hiding the Verizon micro SIM card and an empty slot for a microSD card.
The RAZR M is somewhat short on internal storage; there’s only 8GB of it! Which can be a problem if you have lots of things you’ll store.
The Final Conclusion
Would it be a great idea to buy the DROID RAZR M? Without a doubt. It’s awesome. Motorola and Google made something reliable, with a great design, put it on the most reliable 4G LTE network in the United States, and has considerable battery life. It’s a great smartphone. And for $99? It’s worth it, if you’re looking for something not at the top of the world.